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Milly's Tavern / Stark Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Milly's Tavern / Stark Brewing CompanyMilly's Tavern / Stark Brewing Company
BA SCORE
87
very good

47 Ratings
Ratings: 47
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 12.57%
Active Beers: 23
Beer Ratings: 188
Beer Avg: 3.68
Taps: 15
Bottles: 0
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

500 North Commercial St
Manchester, New Hampshire, 03101-1151
United States
phone: (603) 625-4444

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
On *Firkin Fridays*, we will be tapping a new cask ale which will be available throughout the weekend until it's all gone. Depending on production and consumption, a new cask will be tapped every Friday or other Friday. Look for Firkin Friday details on our website and in our email newsletter.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 47 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by albern:
Photo of albern
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%

I can't decide whether Milly's Tavern is a decent pub that is respectable, or is this a drinking place where lots of beer gets spilled on the floor on a Friday night. It's hard to tell and it can go either way for me. I've been in here a couple of times, usually on my way back from business trips to Vermont. It's convenient if you are heading down 293 and want a quick stop. The beer is decent, and I've had all of what they offer with their sampler. I've had this a few times now and I think no beer is particularly outstanding. The lighter lagers were particularly underwhelming. The stout and the Scotch Ale were decent. They have very fancy growlers and there is a mailing list to keep you in the know. I think this is the only brew pub in Manchester. There are some breweries nearby. Milly's Tavern is okay, nothing to rave about. The owner is a very friendly guy if you get the chance to meet him.

albern, Oct 31, 2010
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2.96/5  rDev -22.5%

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DSmith234, Aug 31, 2014
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3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

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3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Kelp, Mar 25, 2014
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3/5  rDev -21.5%

Kimball-NH, Nov 25, 2013
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4/5  rDev +4.7%

hockeypuck, Nov 02, 2013
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2.75/5  rDev -28%

ajcormier, Oct 31, 2013
Photo of jamespeissner
4.7/5  rDev +23%

Great selction of beerfrom a pumpkin (still) it was awesome! to a lambic (great for style) the Scotch Ale was right on and the Double IPA was really really good. the service was good and the food was great. Had the Ribs. Probably the best ribs I have ever had. the sweet potatoe fries were awesome also. I highly recommend this place if you like micro beers. Another thing I liked they don't sell bottled beer.

jamespeissner, Apr 16, 2013
Photo of FrankLloydMike
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%

Update 06/05/2012:

Milly's became my local haunt when I was home for about a year, maybe a bit more, after the flood that necessitated Milly's much needed and deserved renovation, in March 2010.

The food, service and selection have all remained solid. And I still love the atmosphere here on an early evening when it's more the after-work crowd and less the heavy metal/hip-hop night crowd.

But the beer quality and offerings have been a bit all over the place as of late. I've heard, though I'm not sure that it's true, that they've been through a few different brewers lately. The IPA and the porter especially have remained solid, safe choices, and some of the rotating/seasonal offerings have been quite good. Others, though, have been a letdown.

I'll continue going here for a locally brewed pint, a round of pool and a sandwich in a nice space (assuming there's no band), but I wish Milly's would put more of the focus on the beer and less on the music. I've had great beer here before, and I wish it was a guarantee that I would whenever I'm in.

Old review from March 2010:

Overall: 4.28 | A: 4.0 | Q: 4.5 | S: 4.0 | S: 4.5 | F: 4.0 | $$

What an improvement! Because of a recent flood, Milly's has undergone a much needed and deserved renovation. The space now respects its location in the surprisingly sunny basement of an old mill and the quality of beers brewed behind the bar. Just a few small changes (and a lot of cleaning) have transformed this place from one I avoided despite the good beer to my preferred beer spot when I go home. This, of course, presumes I make it before the bands, which I could still do without, but I'm very happy to say that the tavern is now as nice as the beer it serves.

The beer selection is wonderful with eight (I believe) year-round beers and as many seasonal and rotating taps. At my last visit, I was able to have the very nice Manch Vegas IPA (I'd love to try this on cask), a maibock and an alt. All were excellent, as was the very reasonably priced food. I'd love it if Milly's dropped the music all together (and I could do with a few less TVs), but I'm just so happy to be able to have a solid meal with a great beer in a fine brewpub in Manchester.

Old review from 12-30-2008:

Milly's breaks my heart. The beer brewed on site is consistently excellent, available in a variety of styles and always pretty cheap--not crazy cheap, just pleasantly surprisingly slightly less than one might expect. Yet, it somehow falls short.

The place is in the basement of this gorgeous old mill right by the river, but also a bit far away from any other action downtown and right under an overpass. I think that sums it up pretty well. It could be a grotto to beer, a place where one descends beneath the old streets of the millyard and away from the sounds of the rushing water in the river and the cars overhead to the solace and solitude of fine beer. There's even a hint of this inside, with the brewery tanks faintly visible in an unlit area behind the bar in the middle of the vast, but meandering space. Instead of embracing this setting the way Novares Res in Portland does, however, Milly's feels more like a a sad, old sports bar with lots of shitty music. I guess it comes down to a matter of personal taste in the atmosphere, then, but I just want one good beer bar in Manchester that doesn't need a sign on the door asking you not to show your colors. In a city of over 100k, can't there be one nice place to experience the timelessness of beer without metal music and sticky floors? I wish this was the place.

FrankLloydMike, Jun 05, 2012
Photo of GarthDanielson
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%

This is my kind of bar. Nice, wide open, with a ton of bar space. I was here on a Thursday night, so I don't know how crowded it gets on the weekends, but the atmosphere was great. You can see all the brewing equipment when you approach the bar. When I went in they had at least 15 beers on tap, so selection is definitely a plus. The staff was friendly enough, but they seemed more tuned up as normal city bar staff versus beer aficianados. I could be wrong, as I didn't probe too deep, but that was how it seemed. I didn't inquire about any food, so I can't comment on any of that. The beer was good, and the atmosphere was good, so I will be returning. Good spot in Manchester.

GarthDanielson, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of jamescain
3.03/5  rDev -20.7%

So the reason my score for the atmosphere is low is because of the band that played there the night we went. I'm sure on a night that they are not there it has a nice environment. Apparently when we were the the original band canceled and they had to find a replacement act. Instead of just not having a bad they chose (I would hope with out prior knowledge) some screamo band. Well lets just say that is not the best music to drink to. In typical screamo fashion their music was too loud to hear the conversations of others next to you. The waiter was nice and she understood that we were not into the show and joked with us about them. Their beer was good from what I had, they had a lot of stuff that was out so it was a little disappointing. Their selection was relatively diverse. I believe the only food that I had was french fries, which were good, but it is hard to mess them up. If it wasn't for the band I would probably go back, but I didn't appreciate having to pay a $10 cover without any knowledge of who was going to be playing. If they had told me I would have come back another time.

jamescain, Jul 26, 2011
Photo of WoodBrew
4.43/5  rDev +16%

Milly's is located under the Notre Dame bridge in Manchester, New Hampshire. The stairs leading down give it a "Cheers" sort of feel. The tavern is pretty large in a nice L shape. There is a dance floor at one end for the "L" and billards at the other end. In the midde is the nectar of the Gods!!! The beer on tap is decent and there are plenty of options....I was dissappointed that the IPA was out...but they did have a tasty Imperial IPA...as well as a seasonal Hopalicious. They have a cask condition beer available at all times...so I have been told. The service was great....Shout out to my girl....Autumn Rose....HEY!!!! She did not let me keave until I tried them all! The food....at least what I had was great! The chili with homemade nachos is excellent.

WoodBrew, Apr 03, 2011
Photo of akorsak
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%

En route to The Wedding.

Atmosphere: Milly's is in the basement of an office complex, hidden alongside a cheesecake shop. If you're coming from the lower lot, you'd be inclined to miss the entrance and be forced to double back. Once inside and down a short flight of stairs, the dining area and bar await. Tables first followed by the bar and more tables. The layout is rather large, plenty of space. A stage, immediately on entrance, hosts music at night. The bar covers at least 90 degrees and has taps in multiple areas.

Quality: The whole package was nice. Food and drinks were good; Dan the brewer and I had a chance to chat (he learned the ropes at Market Cross in Carlisle, PA). The late lunch resulted in an empty restaurant, perfect for our monsters.

Service: Service was prompt, aided by the low population. As more people trickled in, things slowed down but not considerably.

Selection: Eight to ten beers on tap, including a few cask offerings. The oatmeal stout is a winner, as is the foreign extra stout. The Scotch ale, I was not so keen on. I left with a growler of a mild porter. An excellect selection.

Food: Sandwiches and entrees, including grub for kiddies. I had the buffalo chicken wrap, serviceable. There are enough options to keep most people happy.

akorsak, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of NEhophead
3.1/5  rDev -18.8%

Located in the basement of an old mill, Milly's a bit tough to find if you're not familiar with the area.

Once inside, the establishment itself is quite spacious: small stage immediately on your right, a dining area in front of you that gives way to a wrap around bar with additional seating and a lounge area in the back. I'm told that the scene usually hosts metal bands and local DJ's; not quite my scene, but luckily there was no act the evening I visited.

The beer list boasted approximately 8 regular offerings, and 4 seasonals; however, a total of 5 brews were kicked. Taps that were pouring during my visit included: Pumpkin, Manchester Mild, Lil' Ivan's Foreign Extra Stout, Mybock Yourbock, Bo's Scotch Ale, Oatmeal Stout, and Fisher Cat.

The Foreign Stout and Oatmeal Stout were tasty; however, the Scotch Ale was ridiculously over-sweetened (as our waitress warned) and the Pumpkin was standard for the style.

Although Milly's was 'unusually' crowded for a Tuesday night, there was really no excuse for the ridiculously slow service, not to mention how spacey the waitress was.

As for the food, there's really not much to say besides the fact that the black & blue burger was basically frozen and re-heated in the microwave.

Don't get me wrong, fresh beer is fresh beer and I wouldn't complain if I lived in the Manchester area considering how limited the options are; however, this is not a place to go out of your way to check out.

NEhophead, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of donkeyrunner
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%

$2 happy hour pints, a large, cavernous building, the smell of fresh wort and spilled beer...ah, the sensations of youth. I could picture this place as a meat market for the college and creepers crowd. And yes I am envious.

My sister and I arrived at 4PM for $2 pints and half price apps. A fellow sat next to me and handed us pamphlets for a rhino safari.

Service was good, food was good, and the beer was average to good. For a brewpub Milly's has a lot of tap selections (13ish?). There are 2 bars which help spread out patrons. People spread around bars like frogs to a pond.

It's also 10 minutes away from the Manchester airport, which was our real purpose for being in Manchester.

donkeyrunner, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%

A bit hard to find for a small city, do not follow the Google maps direction, rather we went one street after West Bridge and then turned South. Place is in a basement and the environment is a lot different than the more social and upscale Strange Brew. But it is a brewpub and they try to fill every tap. A number of very drunk though passive people as well as families here for a late afternoon. Lots of tables, this is primarily a band place. The brewmaster alone knew the beers, its the fifth one inside of a year, but he certainly knew his stuff. I can see him opening his own place sometime. The feature for me was the Hoplicious, like a 1.5X IPA. Guest taps would be a good idea, and perhaps lead to rationalizing the product line. $1 pints happy hour from their regular not high abv. You can't beat that, though the staff was somewhat overwhelmed pouring pints for people having several.

Sammy, Jul 15, 2009
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%

On a rainy Wednesday afternoon, with maybe six patrons, this place looks pretty shabby. I bet there's more atmosphere on a busy night. My wife and I sat at the bar and watched the brewer working. In this huge place, the brewing equipment is in the center, with the bar and tables around it. We enjoyed watching and conversing with the brewer.

The beers, I think, are what people go to Milly's for. It's certainly not the food, which is pub food at its most ordinary. There are eight beers that are always on tap and, when we were there, seven specialty beers. The specialty beers included Li'l Ivan Extra Stout, Illicit Affair (a lambic), Bold Horizons (a Berliner weiss), Hoplicious (an APA), Ploughman's Cherry Porter, Heidelberg Hefe, and an ESB. The Hoplicious was quite good, and my wife enjoyed the hefe. I had a small taste of Bold Horizons, and liked that as well.

We had excellent service, and I think that's because the bartender really enjoys her work, not that there were so few people in the place.

A good place to visit. Ignore the ambience and focus on the beer.

lordofthewiens, May 30, 2009
Photo of DrinknFish
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%

I stopped by Milly's on my way up north. I have wanted to go there since trying their beers at the extreme beer fest back in 2007, but was never able to find it, then again I didn't look to hard. This time I took my usual back roads but the ramp onto the highway was closed and there it was on the way to the next onramp. This place is great; it has that old dive bar feel, but with some of the best beer I have tasted. I ordered the TNT barley wine and was more than impressed. This beer is one of the best barley wines I have ever had, it was very full flavored and you could tell it was aged in a whisky barrel. They served it in the right glass and at the right temperature, which topped it off. The bartender while at times disappeared was a very interesting fellow and knew the beers pretty well, once we got talking beer he gave me small samples of just about every beer on tap. They were all good, but Tasha's Red Tail Ale, from the cask was my favorite. The food was ok, your typical bar food. We missed the happy hour by a few minutes, but this place is still a great bargain. I think the bartender was telling me that they always have a $1 draft of one of their beers, which for the quality of beer you are getting is unheard of. Now that I know how to get there, I think I will be stopping by every time head up north. Next time though I think I will be taking a growler of the barley wine home.

DrinknFish, May 13, 2008
Photo of MugOfGoodness
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Happy hour with some co-workers so that means $2 drafts and 1/2 price appetizers (chicken tenders were great) - had the Hopnoxious IPA and a Oatmeal Stout. The IPA was great, very tasty and the Oatmeal was okay, a little too smooth for me - I wanted an Imperial which isn't the fault of the stout. They were out of the Burton which I bet was good and I did have a taste of the Manch-Vegas IPA which was also very good. The crowd was primarily male which was fine, but the women with us felt a little outnumbered. The waitress service was pretty overwhelmed but the nice bartender took great care of us and delivered the goods.

MugOfGoodness, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of altgeeky1
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%

Milly's is a brewpub, but can be disappointing if you are expecting a Marthas or Portsmouth Brewery. Ignore everything except the beer... yes the beer is excellent. If your expectations were not mis-set, you will enjoy Milly's for what it is. I am convinced the no smoking law is going to force some needed improvements in the place.

Atmosphere:
The place is dark, but the bar areas have a cozy feel to it, with heavy dark wood and original mill hardwood flooring. What's notable however is someone thought they could get away with 'parkay' wood squares in the highest traffic area in front of the door, stage, and dining area.

Since the smoking ban, there is less of the death-metal-emo-kid and I have not seen any more of the occasional fat bikers with swastikas (not kidding - this was an element before).

Service:
The has always been high staff turnover, and service could be a downer. If your waitress is talking to another table for more than the length of one song (flirting, and not periodically glancing at your table...), it's one of those nights where you have to fetch your own beer. A manager making quick rounds could catch this problem before people complain. Most recently on a Saturday night, our waitress was good.

Food:
They could definitely use a menu review. Most selections involve fat or grease, although I've had an excellent cold Mediterranean platter, Greek stuffed grape leaves, and perfect salads. Fish and chips is something I'll try everywhere, but at Milly's it was far too greasy.

The beer selection is great. The barley wine, sweet stout, and the 'TNT' are not to be missed. The TNT in is a barleywine fermented in old Jack Daniels casks... served correctly at proper temperature, and low carbonation, the beer has a sharp taste you won't forget.

The 'sampler tray' is 6 two-ounce beers and is a great way to try all the beers. At $6 the sampler is very reasonable.

Happy hour prices are unbelievable, and Tuesday night is happy hour all evening... brewpub beers that start at $1 and go up 50 cents every 30 minutes. Tuesday gets busy very early!

Overall:
I wouldn't want to see the place change TOO much... it's not pretentious and not overpriced. The smoke was one of the biggest complaint... now fixed. It would be smart to fix the floor as it is a bad first impression.

altgeeky1, Oct 08, 2007
Photo of slander
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%

Too many miles to cover and too little time to take have taken in everything yesterday, but if you'd seen the crazy Trouble map; pinned locations, hours of operation, directions to everywhere from everywhere, etc., you'd know that it was all planned out quite efficiently. That's how we roll, it's true. Soon we'd start heading back west through Vermont and out to Albany but it's early yet. We'd seen what we wanted to see thus far except for Milly's, which as an early opener, would serve as an acceptable backtracker for lunch...

Milly's is not an old street corner tavern but rather a large cavernous basement brewpub in one of the many old brick buildings in an industrial cluster on the Merrimack River. There's an elevated area for bands just off to one side of the entrance, and a small attached coffee shop to the other side. Down the stairs to the main seating area; 8 tables, a couple of raised bar tables and a gaming corner (Phil's Golf Game 2007 Live and a Simpson's pinball machine). Just beyond that, a large "L" shaped faux marble formica topped bar seating 2 dozen. The barback is a cupboard counter with a piece above holding glassware & tiered booze. A similar unit around the bend with a few towers of one or two taps each, and then a tower of 8 taps at opposite ends of the bar. Behind the bar, 2 rows of fermenters and a copper mash tun. The standard tap selections are listed on a slat chain board and the seasonals on a dry erase board. 3 rows of drop chain link poles hold mug club mugs above and growlers dangle all down the line. A single mounted TV on the corner post. An adjacent bar counter off the front seats 10 on each side of it, and more on the near wall and down around the bend running the far wall towards the rear, where sits a pair of small pool tables and seating in a raised space. A non smoking party room sits separate back there, with a 12 seat marble topped bar, lots of brick and strange seemingly misplaced pillars, 8 tables, nice space.

Ordered lunch; she burgered, and I had a cup of chicken noodle soup and the chicken stir fry, both were good.

We took in all 12 beers on 2 samplers of 6, served in small boxes with rope handles. The Fisher Cat Ale was pale, light, crisp; the Mt Uncanoonuc Golden Cream Ale, a slight hop bitterness and a little sweet; the Amoskeag Harvest Ale, a sweet aroma, golden, slight malt flavor; Tashas Red Tail Ale, copper colored, sweet maltiness, toffee & fruitness; the General John Stark Dark Porter, full bodied, roasty, chocolatey, quite nice; Milly's Oatmeal Stout, sturdy, sweet, dry & rich; the Manch Vegas IPA, Cascade, nice hoppiness; Bo's Scotch Ale, a malt bomb, al-co-hol, and the 4 seasonals, the Canterbury Ale, strange aroma, ick bitterness, may be past it's time; the Hefeweizen, unfiltered, banana, clove and some vanilla; the Innocent Blonde, a nice Belgian golden, fruity, sweet candy, a nice beer; and the Marathon Mild, dark, a slight roastiness, and some maltiness.
And the wildcard... a bottle of the limited release Napoleon's Waterloo, a wild ale with Brettanomyces, golden, tart, slight carbonation. I liked the General John Stark Dark Porter & Innocent Blonde the best.

Then brewer Mike Roy came out and talked with us for a while, that was cool. Some nice beers, here, and a good stop in the opposite direction from where we need to be, where we need to be getting on to.

slander, Sep 04, 2007
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Milly's Tavern / Stark Brewing Company in Manchester, NH
87 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.